Northern California - Motivation Discussion


In this special motivation discussion, we feature two of the San Juan Unified School District’s finest: Melissa Bassanelli, Deputy Superintendent Schools and Student Support and Kristan Schnepp, Senior Director, Professional Learning and Curriculum Innovation. According to Kristan Schnepp, “In our district, we have been providing distance learning since March of last year. We have a very strong partnership with our teachers association, which has really allowed us to respond to the pandemic in creative ways.

It has allowed us to be somewhat agile and flexible as we've been moving through this. Since the fall, we really started the year focused on making sure that we are reaching out to everybody, that we don't leave any student behind or unnoticed. We had a very large outreach effort at the start of the year to ensure that all students had connectivity, that they had devices. We've issued over 25,000 Chromebooks to students out in our system and over 3000 hotspots. There was a huge effort to make sure that we were connected and that students were participating. Initially we thought that that was what we needed to do in response to what we learned in the spring, because I think many school districts were really scrambling on the connectivity front.

“What we learned is that it is so much deeper. It has to do a lot with the motivation factor. We saw in our first semester an increase in the number of the percent of students who were receiving F's on their report cards. We saw an increase in chronic absenteeism. And when we connected those two pieces, we wanted to better understand the problem.”

The district grounded their work in improvement, science and really focusing having a discipline cycle of inquiry, where they were able to learn fast, test fast and improve quickly. Although they were seeing a lot of quantitative data, they needed to also gather qualitative data that was, directly connected to a student's experience. So each division sat out on a journey to really listen and learn from students and parents in terms of what they were experiencing.

Hear what San Juan Unified School District ultimately learned about student motivation, and how they were able to engage students and create an optimum learning environment. This is great information you can use in your own school or district immediately to make a great impact.


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